Five Star Custom Foods Blog
(Now Part of Cargill)

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Five Star Fundamental #4: Check The Ego At The Door

Posted by Dale Schoelles on Jan 24, 2017 10:15:46 AM

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The Five Star Way describes the values, behaviors, principles and practices that are the foundation of our unique culture. Featuring 29 Fundamentals, it explains how we relate to each other, our customers and even our suppliers. It's who we are and it's what drives our extraordinary success. According to Fundamental #4, our own egos and personal agendas must never get in the way of doing what is best for Five Star.

Why is this fundamental so essential, so critical to our success that it appears in the top five of the 29 Five Star Fundamentals?

To paraphrase an oft-quoted sports analogy, “There never has, and there will never be an 'I' in 'TEAM!'"

Those of you of a certain age may remember a great song written in 1985 by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie: “We are the World.” The idea for the song was Harry Belafonte’s and co-produced by Quincy Jones. All artists donated their time and all proceeds went to help eradicate starvation in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where over a million people died in the famine of 1983-1985.

Little Known Fact: Michael Jackson’s sister LaToya told People Magazine, “Michael wrote 99% of the lyrics, but he never felt it necessary to say that.” It was not important for him to receive the glory, it was important to him get the song completed.

More than 45 Grammy winners — all of them multi-platinum artists — participated in the recording and more than 50 world-famous artists had to be turned away. Some singers had solos, some had duets, and some were grouped in the chorus. Smokey Robinson and Bette Midler were back-up singers. Kind of hard to imagine now, when you think about it.

What was the ultimate key to the success of the song? Producer Quincy Jones put a simple sign on the front door of the recording studio. It said, “Check your egos at the door.”  There were no divas, no superstars, no tantrums. Everyone was a single link to the whole. There was some bickering, a few minor power plays — which is only human among superstars used to having their every whim indulged. Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles put a quick stop to it by saying if it did not end immediately, they would be the drivers taking the offending egos home.

Another great lesson: a huge belly laugh works wonders. This team brought a song together that is thought of as an anthem by many. It’s one of only 30 songs in the world to hold a quadruple platinum sales record.

So what does this song have to do with Five Star? Each of our egos must be checked at the door, before our day even begins. We are all equals here. Yes, we have different titles, roles, responsibilities, contributions and skills. However — and most importantly — we are a company composed of human links. We cannot operate in a vacuum; we must support, encourage, acknowledge, and assist anyone on a tight deadline or faced with another critical task. Five Star’s corporate chain is only as strong as each individual’s contribution to its whole. To weaken one person’s effort — to not give 100% — weakens everyone. It weakens our brand, our reputation, our quality, our efficiencies, our teamwork and, ultimately, our pleasure in contributing great products and service to our clients.

We must remember that at heart, we are a customer service company. The base word of service? Serve. It’s a verb. It’s active. It’s an action, not a concept. We owe it to ourselves, to our co-workers and to our clients to serve with glad, selfless hearts. That’s why our team is more than our individual parts. It’s our combination, the pouring together of our talents, skills, insights andflashes of greatness, which we share and pay forward to each other. That willingness to check our egos and be a link and not a soloist is what defines Five Star as a winning team instead of one that settles on mediocrity.

This is why Fundamental #4 is so essential to all of us who are members of the Five Star team.

 Download the Five Star Way Guide

Topics: Insider